Working in coordination with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) partners, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested 43 people in three separate maritime smuggling events who entered the U.S. illegally by boat on Sunday.
The first event began on April 28, at approximately 1:40 p.m., when a United States Coast Guard (USCG) cutter encountered a vessel with 17 subjects onboard approximately one nautical mile west of Point Loma, Calif. USCG requested assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Air and Marine Operations (AMO). An AMO vessel arrived on scene a short time later. The 17 subjects were suspected of attempting to enter the United States illegally. USCG transported the subjects to the USCG Base. AMO assumed custody of the suspect vessel and towed it into San Diego Bay. U.S. Border Patrol agents took custody of the 17 people which included 16 adult Mexican male nationals ranging in ages from 22-54 years-old and one 22-year-old adult Guatemalan male national. All passengers onboard admitted to entering the United States illegally and were transported to a Border Patrol station for processing. AMO crews processed the smuggling vessel for seizure.
The second event started at approximately 4 p.m., when a multi-agency crewed law enforcement vessel operating under the authority of a DHS Stonegarden program made contact with a boat dead in the water with four visible subjects onboard roughly a quarter mile west of Sunset Cliffs. The Border Patrol agent onboard the Stonegarden vessel asked the four subjects as to their citizenship. The four passengers freely admitted to being Mexican nationals, illegally present in the United States. The agent boarded the vessel and noticed 12 more passengers down below in the cabin of the boat. The 12 additional passengers also admitted to being in the U.S. illegally. The vessel was towed to Ballast Point where Border Patrol took custody of the 16 subjects to be processed. AMO assumed custody of the smuggling vessel and processed it for seizure. The 16 people included 15 adult Mexican national males, aged between 19-59-years-old, and one 18 year-old Mexican national female. Two of the men are suspected smugglers.
The third event occurred at approximately 5 p.m., when agents from AMO interdicted a 27-foot Sea Ray with 10 people onboard approximately 3 miles west of Point Loma. AMO detained the vessel with the occupants and contacted the U.S. Border Patrol. Border Patrol Agents met with AMO at the USCG Base. A total of 10 people were intercepted, which included the boat captain, and nine passengers. Agents questioned the occupants and they all admitted to being Mexican nationals illegally present in the U.S. Seven men, aged between 26-72-years-old, and three women, aged between 22-56-years-old, were arrested and taken to a nearby station for processing. AMO processed the smuggling vessel for seizure.